Last week, I shared my review of Calligraphy Guild and this week I have the honor of interviewing the author R. M. Archer! Residing in Virginia, Archer is an author, editor, course creator in addition to being a stablehand at a horse farm. In her free time, Archer enjoys spending time with family and friends, playing video games, watching TV/movies, reading, crocheting, and fashion design. A fun fact about Archer is that she was in choir for twelve years and her choir had the privilege of singing back-up to Celtic Woman one year. Read the full interview below to learn more!
Q) How long have you been writing?
A) About fourteen years. Just about as long as I can remember, lol.
Q) Why do you write?
A) I believe that books, and storytelling in general, are incredibly important. God gave me a passion for books and writing at a very young age, and I’ve done my best to faithfully serve Him through my pursuit of that passion. There’s a shortage of high-quality YA fiction that highlights Christian values in a way that’s real and doesn’t have to be in your face to make its point, especially Christian-authored YA that isn’t afraid to tackle the tough topics that secular fiction is already looking at (and has been for years), so it’s my desire to write the books I want to see and to reflect Christ and His truth through the stories I tell.
Q) What are your favorite book tropes? What about least favorite?
A) My favorite tropes include best friends to lovers and found family, as well as just about any other tropes that involve healthy relationships, lol. On the logical flip side, I’m tired of the generic love triangles and toxic “misunderstood bad boy” relationships, and I’m SO done with the “forbidden love” stories where one party is betrothed and doesn’t bother to dissolve said betrothal with an adult conversation before pursuing a relationship with the character they’re “in love with.” That one has to be my biggest pet peeve trope.
Q) Describe yourself in three words.
A) I guess I’d go with “principled,” “teachable,” and “trying” (that last one being a verb, not an adjective, lol).
Q) What song would be your life’s theme song?
A) Ooh, good question. I actually keep theme songs for different seasons of my life, but picking just one to encompass the whole thing is tough. I really appreciate and relate to “Stories” by Lilli Furfaro; it lacks a faith element that I’d definitely want in a life theme song, but otherwise I think it hits the nail on the head. Another good one might be “Many Roads” by Andrew Peterson.
Q) Who is someone (real or fictional) that inspires you?
A) Nadine Brandes. She seems to balance writing and family with so much grace; she finds so much joy both in storytelling and in being a traditional, (currently) counter-cultural mom and wife and homemaker; her books contain so much truth and they’re so bold with their faith elements without ever feeling preachy; she’s so genuine and friendly in her interactions with readers. There are so many things I admire about her, both as an author and a woman.
Q) Can you tell us what inspired Calligraphy Guild?
A) As both an author and an extrovert, I love the idea of a physical location where authors get together on a daily basis to write together, collaborate, bounce ideas back and forth, etc. All the things that online writing groups do, but with the added benefit of face-to-face interaction and a dedicated writing space. My primary online writing group calls itself The Fortress and imagines such a physical location for itself, and the Phoenix Fiction Writers wrote a few scenes for their blog that took place in their “HQ,” which is a similarly imagined locale. I think it was around the time that PFW was doing those snippets that I started to consider writing a story where such a location actually existed and served the sort of purpose that The Fortress and PFW Headquarters were imagined to serve, so that was piece #1.
Piece #2, which struck against #1 to create the initial spark for Calligraphy Guild, was a dream I had about an ink that gave you magical abilities if you drank it. I ditched the “ingestible” part and changed what exactly the ink did, but that’s where the idea of magical, time-binding ink came from.
Q) What do you hope readers take away from Calligraphy Guild?
A) I think there are a lot of things that could be taken away from Calligraphy Guild. The more I reread it, the more little snippets of themes and ideas I discover, and I think Calligraphy Guild will impact different readers in different ways, so I’m excited to see how God uses it to uniquely impact readers! But the most prevalent theme, I think, is that of community, and I hope that readers come away inspired to strengthen the communities they’re in and better appreciate their relationships.
Q) How does your faith intersect with or influence your writing?
A) It depends on the book, to some degree. Some of my books have more overt faith elements than others. But all of my books are informed by my worldview, which is deeply rooted in my faith, so I seek with all of them to reflect truth and beauty, to highlight God-honoring themes, and to include content that ultimately edifies while leaving out content that would only serve to distract or even harm readers.
Q) Do you have a favorite Bible verse?
A) Matthew 6:33 is one I often find myself meditating on and try to live by: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
Q) Can you tell readers about any of your current writing projects?
I can’t say a whole lot since I’m still in early stages–I don’t want to get hopes up or spoil too much–but I’m currently drafting a non-fiction book about worldbuilding and planning a sci-fi novel. (The novel is connected to the sci-fi short stories in Short Story Collection vol. 1, so check that out if you want a feel for my style of sci-fi or a hint as to what the novel might be about. 😉 )
Q) What goals do you have for your writing?
A) This is a big question, especially because there are multiple categories of goals for my writing, lol. The most important thing to me is to write God-honoring books, of course, and then to see readers positively impacted by them. Those are the big, intangible things, and they’re the priority. But on the more materialistic side, I’d like to be able to make a full-time income from my writing-related endeavors, so that I can keep doing what I do and accomplish the intangible goals without worrying about tangible needs, and it would be super cool to see at least one of my books adapted for film or TV someday.
Q) Can you tell us a little about your experience as an indie author?
A) Indie publishing has been amazing. It’s had its difficulties, too–I made a lot of mistakes when I was first starting out, especially–but it’s definitely been the right choice for me. I love having the opportunity to make all of the final decisions, to assemble my own team and work with so many great freelancers and artists, to publish on my own timeline, and to get my book straight to the readers who connect with what I write and why I write it. Indie publishing has its challenges–finding the right people to work with and the right readers, having to work out all the technical glitches yourself, getting your book distributed as broadly as you might like–but the satisfaction of bringing everything together, the joy of working alongside the perfect team, the delight of giving a book to readers as soon as it’s ready without having to wait on someone else to see its potential (for impact or sales) is all well worth it. Indie publishing isn’t the right choice for every author, but I have no regrets.
Q) What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
A) You’re not an aspiring author. You’re an author. Right now, if you’re dedicated to pursuing your passion for storytelling, you are an author. Don’t let that scare you. Sometimes we let the word “author” bring too much pressure and we start to take it too seriously, until we’re so worried about writing something good that we forget to write something we love (been there, done that); you should still absolutely write for the love of it, write what’s important to you, write those books that only you can write. But do so with the mindset that this is important work, that it’s meaningful work, that you are free to pursue this work if it’s what God has placed in front of you. It’s not something still in the future that you might attain someday. You’re already doing it. So own it.
Q) Is there anything else you would like to add?
A) Thank you, Kayla, for having me! And thank you, reader, for “listening in!” If you’re interested in checking out Calligraphy Guild or any of my other books or services, you can find links to everything on my website. I hope you find something there that blesses you!
Be sure to follow R. M. Archer @rysaarcher on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!
Annnd remember that Calligraphy Guild releases in just a few days (June 17)! Be sure to check out my review from last week here.